How to Visit Gir National Park: This blog is my favorite. I was born in Junagadh and even though I never really lived there I feel this immense sense of belonging in this city.
Junagadh is primarily known for the Gir National Park: The home to Asiatic lions. Yes, this article is a well-curated guide on How to Visit Gir National Park and how to plan a perfect trip. But, I’ll also include all the lesser-known fabulous spots in and around the sanctuary. Just a bonus you know!
Where is Gir National Park?
The Girnar mountain range is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.
Here’s to the geography geeks – the Girnar mountain range is originally a part of the Gondwana landmass. Yes, it’s damn ancient. The mountain range is situated in the state of Gujarat and spread over Rajkot, Junagadh, Surendranagar, and Amreli districts.
The Gir National Park is a zone within the Girnar mountain range.
As a tourist, Junagadh is the place you want to reach. The sanctuary is accessible from here.
How to Visit Gir National Park – Is it worth a trip and why?
I personally believe that Junagadh is heavily underrated in its tourist rating. It’s a fortified landlocked city with immense relevance in Hindu and Gujarati history.
You should really spare some time and go through this site for detailed information on Junagadh.
Other travel itineraries to check out:
- Is Batu Caves Worth Visiting?
- Kutch Travel Guide: Hotspot for Gujarat tourism!
- Rajasthan Travel Blog: Top 5 Places to Visit
How to visit Gir National Park
Junagadh is accessible by train and road. Unfortunately, there isn’t an airport so you have to take a cab or bus from Ahmedabad or Baroda airport. Rajkot is the nearest domestic airport.
The best time to visit is post-monsoons, the months of September to March present the forest in full glory. Also, the sanctuary is closed during peak monsoons for 3-4 months, and hence check out the schedule here.
How do I book a safari and what to pack?
We booked our safari online from this site – GirNationalPark.in. You can also just reach Sasan and book your safari offline, on the counter.
The two safari options in Gir National Park are:
- Devadiya park
1. Sasan safari option
Sasan is an open jeep proper 3hours safari experience and Devadiya park is more of a zoo kinda experience. Based on your budget and adrenaline rush make your choice.
Sasan Safari is a full-fledged jeep safari with no guarantee of seeing a lion. As clear as that.
2. Devadiya Park Safari
Devadiya Park safari is in a cage-like bus as you visit lion frequented territories. Also, Devadiya park has its own internal boundary and hence there are more chances of seeing a lion.
Choose your safari accordingly.
What to Pack for Gir National Park Safari
Junagadh is a warm place, so warm clothes should do along with the basic necessities.
- A water bottle
- Sports shoes
- Sunscreen lotion – say you’re skin sensitive
Yep, that’d be all to bring along!
Here are some accommodations to check out in Junagadh before you go:
My visit to Gir National Park
We left from Ahmedabad to Junagadh by road (a 7-hour drive). Then we stayed at Hotel Green Park for the night. We’d pre-booked the safari online.
The safari closes in the evening hours so I suggest the early morning slot (before 8.30) or the last slot of the day( 3.00-6.00) because these times provide the maximum opportunity to visualize animals in their natural ways.
Get Final Permit from Gir Safari Office: We drove to the official Gir safari pick-up point, mind you there are no private safaris operating in Gir. No matter where you’ve booked from, you need to get a final permit from this office.
We were booked for 8.30 am to 11.30 am safari in an open jeep. There are multiple routes in the sanctuary to avoid traffic and when your driver is an experienced one he’ll tell you a lot of stories.
Our driver was no less than an expert. He told us about all the wildlife as well as ayurvedic trees seen around the range.
Coming across two lion prides!
We came across two lions prides. Yaaay! The first pride had just hunted down a buffalo and was devouring it. I saw two lionesses and 3 cubs. The lion was nowhere around. The second pride had two lionesses one lion and a cub.
They were sleeping in the shade of a tree, as we parked at a distance of 15 feet one of them stretched and yawned!
This is out of context but in case you prefer organic food then do buy some organic jaggery from Sasan. You don’t have to look for it, it’s pretty famous among visitors just ask any shopkeeper.
So that’s Gir for you ladies and gentlemen!
Since you’ve come so far, then check out the other places around Gir.
Places around Gir worth visiting
- Bor Devi
- The Girnar ropeway
- 100 km from Junagadh, we have Somnath temple
- To those up for the experience then every winter after Diwali, the Girnar Parikrama starts. People travel 36 km on foot inside the protected area. For a month the forest department issues permissions for the Parikrama. I haven’t performed it yet but it’s on my bucket list. Let me know in case you want to join in!
On that note, I conclude this guide on How to Visit Gir National Park. I hope it clears all your apprehensions regarding Gir and Gujarat as a tourist spot!
Check out some more travel articles below!
- Udaipur Travel Blog: Rajasthan diaries
- Must Visit Places in Kerala: Kerala Tourism
- A Morning Walk in Cubbon Park
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